Errol Morris’ Tabloid, your LiC Pick of the Week

Here’s what’s new in theaters this weekend. Also note that James Marsh’s well-reviewed Project Nim opens in LA this weekend after last week’s NY debut.

  • Tabloid. Documentarian Errol Morris (The Thin Blue Line, The Fog of War) returns with a look at one-time Miss Wyoming Joyce McKinney and the “Case of the Manacled Mormon.” In 1977, Ms. McKinney flew to England where she kidnapped and held captive a Mormon missionary named Kirk Anderson, a man she claimed was the love of her life. The mix of lurid sex and religion became fodder for the British tabs and even today the story changes depending on who you ask. McKinney maintains she was rescuing the man from a cult. (Limited)
  • Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2. The first half of the last book of J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series was one of the more bloated and dull of the entire lot. Much to my own surprise, they managed to turn it into one of the better films in the franchise. That probably bodes well for the second half, which in the book was a fairly rousing and emotionally satisfying conclusion to the whole deal. Either way, you’re probably looking at the top box office grosser of 2011. (Wide)
  • Winnie the Pooh. After a great start in the mid-60s, Disney doesn’t have a great track record with their more recent treatment of A.A. Milne’s lovable, gentle, honey-craving “bear of very little brain” (Frankenpooh? Really?). He’s been more of a merchandising cash cow than anything especially memorable. By most accounts however, Winnie the Pooh is a delightful return to hand-drawn form with a narrative inspired by three of Milne’s own stories. It ought to be a nice antidote to the dominant Pixar-style. (Wide)

  • Snow Flower and the Secret Fan. From the early ’80s to the mid ’90s, Wayne Wang was a bright light in the indie film scene and it saddens me to see his latest film getting clobbered by critics. It’s an adaptation of Lisa See’s novel that tells two parallel stories of women. The first follows two little girls in 19th-century China and the second is set in the present as two women try to keep up their childhood friendship amid the stresses of modern adult lives. (Limited)
  • The Tree. Charlotte Gainsbourg stars in this Australia-set drama from Julie Bertuccelli (Since Otar Left) about a woman and her children coping with the loss of their husband and father. One of her daughters imagines she can hear her father whispering in the leaves of a giant fig tree in the yard. (Limited)
  • Salvation Boulevard. A great cast including Pierce Brosnan, Ed Harris, Jim Gaffigan, Jennifer Connelly, Greg Kinnear and Marisa Tomei have assembled for this indie comedy thriller from the book by Larry Beinhart (Wag the Dog). It mixes evangelical religion, real estate deals and aging hippies. Nothing good can come of that, can it? (Limited)
  • Life, Above All. Let’s cut to the official blurb: “Life, Above All is an emotional and universal drama about a young girl (stunningly performed by first-time-actress Khomotso Manyaka) who fights the fear and shame that have poisoned her community. The film captures the enduring strength of loyalty and a courage powered by the heart. Just after the death of her newly-born sister, Chanda, 12 years old, learns of a rumor that spreads like wildfire through her small, dust-ridden village near Johannesburg. It destroys her family and forces her mother to flee. Sensing that the gossip stems from prejudice and superstition, Chanda leaves home and school in search of her mother and the truth.” (NY, LA)
  • Lucky. Colin Hanks is a serial killer in love. (NY, LA)
  • The Undefeated. Sarah Palin gets suckers to pay to see her campaign ad. (Limited)

5 Responses to “Weekend Forecast: Tabloid fever”

  1. Hoping to see Potter, would love to see Pooh, but I’ll count it as a good weekend if no one I formerly respected raves about The Undefeated on Facebook.

  2. I’m going to see The Undefeated, but I think I’ll see it in the Bible Belt just for kicks.

  3. Just got out of POTTER about an hour ago with the kids, and will be seeing TABLOID this evening with Lucille and Broadway Bob. As you probably have seen the reviews for POTTER have gone through the roof with that staggering 97% at RT (214 to 6, and an 8.4 composite) Would you believe it’s the highest rating at the site for 2011? Unbelievable. It’s most telling that Manohla Dargis, Stephanie Zacharek, Roger Ebert and TIME OUT NEW YORK praised it to high heaven. Geez, when has that combo agreed?

    Anyway, it’s an amazing film for all sorts of reasons, and I will go with **** 1/2, which is the highest I’ve ever given any Potter film. My kids are huge Potter fans, and loved it.

    I am dying to see that African film LIFE ABOVE ALL (which is playing at my film mecca, the Film Forum) and will do so soon. Likewise for THE TREE and WINNIE THE POOH.

  4. Tabloid was a big disappointment for me. Project Nim was great though.

    Hoping to catch Potter and Pooh at some point this weekend. Was going to go this morning, but slept in.

  5. I disliked Tabloid intensely.

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